You know when you’re trying to fall sleep, but your brain refuses to shut down? You wonder how the hell it can still be up when every other body part just wants to pass out.
Brain- “I got something on my mind, and I need a good listener.”
Ears- “Sorry pal we’re off duty. We had to listen to people jabber on all day long.”
Brain- “What about you, Lower Lip? Fancy a chat? I’ll let you do some of the talking too.”
Lower Lip- “No can’t do. Upper lip is coming over and we’re gonna “Netflix and Chill” if you know what I mean.”
Brain- “No but sounds swell! How about you, Right Hand? I need a friend right now, care to lend a helping hand? Get it? Get it?”
Right hand- “Shut the hell up or I’ll slap you.”
It was just one of those sleepless nights where I laid in bed counting sheep. Soon those sheep would start to speak to me, and next thing you know they’re narrating the past three years of my life. They speak of the good (when I finally made friends) and the bad (Carlos and his misogynistic gang), the happy (boat parties, bus parties, private jet parties-I wish…) and the sad (Crying on a friend’s shoulders when one of the guys you met at said parties turn out to be a real jerk).
I suddenly realized that this whole time I was fretting about Johan, at least I’ll see him in a year no matter what. As for everyone else, I might not see them for a long time. If ever again!
“Why don’t you have a farewell party and say goodbye to your friends?” Johan suggested after I told him about my panic attack. “In fact, we could do a joint farewell party this weekend. I was thinking about having one anyway.”
Although I was unsure how that solved my dilemma, I wasn’t about to turn down an opportunity to party. Johan had graciously offered up his sister’s apartment, and set about to organize the food, music and games. I’m more of a minimalist when it comes to parties. Booze? Check! Done.
Though it was last minute, almost all of the guests had accepted the invite. Lucy was the first to come, followed by Ronnie and our Japanese friend Sushi. (I’m just kidding, her name obviously wasn’t Sushi. Although I did have a student named Sushi because she liked Sushi so much. Now that I think about it, Sushi is a cool name. I’m gonna name my kid Sushi.)
“I can’t believe you’re leaving me.” Ronnie moped for the fifth time.
“Come to Canada! I’ll fold you up and pack you in my carry on,” I proposed. “Just try not to look so alive when you go through the X-ray.”
“Kathyyyyyyyyyy! If you leave…” Lucy grabbed hold of my shoulders and shook violently. “Who’s gonna hold my hair when I throw up from drinking???”
“I’ll find you a replacement!” I promised her. “They might not be as good, so always carry a hair tie.”
This went on for awhile before the other guests came. Truth be told, I was relishing in the attention. I soaked up every bit of the lovin’ I could get.
Soon the hallway was flooded with shoes as more and more guests filed in, including to my surprise, Helen.
Although Helen was my first BFF, I haven’t talked about her for awhile because we had a bit of a rift since I started dating Johan. She was not happy about the situation and harassed me about not spending time with her. Of course I felt guilty. I didn’t want to be “that” girl and set aside time to hang out with her. However, she repeatedly canceled our plans because something better came up(She has a bit of FOMO remember?), and yet continued to guilt me over Wechat. So eventually I got fed up and stopped answering her messages. The last time I saw her was when we ran into eachother at a beer festival. She saw me and started crying. I got uncomfortable and ran away.
Since I was leaving the country, I figured it was time to make amends and invited her. I decided to just woman up and talk to her about it. Guess Helen felt the same way since she came.
By the time she arrived, the party was already in full swing. I think she had another party before this, since she was already tipsy.
“Sis! I’m gonna miss you so much!!!” She pulled me into a hug and planted a big kiss on my cheek.
“I’m gonna miss you too!!!!” I screamed over the music, and hugged her back.
And just like that, the cold war was over.
Even more unexpected was the appearance of Julien. Remember Julien? My not-so-platonic male BFF? Once he found out I was dating Johan, he stopped talking to me. He also left the country without a word, followed by a few passive aggressive messages when he got back. Now that I write it, how did I ever think our relationship was platonic???
“Hey…” I saw him and waved unsurely.
“Hey…”He replied hesitantly and made his way across the room.
We stood there for a good minute before hugging awkwardly. I made some small talk and he asked about my plans. We were soon interrupted by some drunken well-wishers, and that was the end of my exchange with Julien. I don’t remember seeing him for the rest of the night. I guess part of growing up is accepting that not every friendship can, or needs to be salvaged.
Once the yogurt-soju(more delicious than it sounds) came out, the dancing also started. I was quickly dragged to the dance floor by Helen and Ronnie. We danced and selfied, danced and selfied. Soon it was mostly just stumping as people got progressively drunker. Bless Johan’s neighbors. I believe he bribed them with pie.
This went on to about 2am, until both Johan and I ready to collapse with exhaustion. However, some of our guests looked like they were just getting started as people galloped to Gangnam style.
“Last song!” Johan screamed.
“Last call!” I screamed.
After another hour, the guests finally left. Johan and I finally went to sleep, and this time I did not have insomnia.
We woke up the next morning to a massive pile of garbage. The two of us started tidying up, and I found the poster that our friend had custom made for us. (yes, that’s Toronto’s crack smoking mayor Rob Ford.)
Each of our friends had left a message. They made me laugh, they made me cry. They also made me realize that friendships don’t have to end because of distance. The people you want to keep around will always find a way to stay.
Unless they block you on Wechat. Then it’s truly over.